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Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it beca...
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Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it became a division of General Mills.

Darden is most closely associated with its two largest restaurant brands: Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Both of those chains now have more than 600 locations. The company's attempt to diversify its restaurant holdings has had mixed results. In 1995, Darden shut down an internally developed Chinese restaurant chain called China Coast. Since its spin-off, Darden has also created a barbecue and sports bar-themed restaurant group called Smokey Bones, a Caribbean-themed chain called Bahama Breeze, and a higher-end group of restaurants called Seasons 52. The company announced its intention to sell its Smokey Bones restaurants in May 2007, admitting that the brand did not have the potential to become a national chain. In August, Darden agreed to purchase Rare Hospitality International, which operates the LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille restaurant chains, for an estimated value of $1.4 billion.

Clarence Otis, who took over the company from long-time chief Joe Lee in 2005, serves as chairman and chief executive officer. Darden posted $5.6 billion in annual sales in fiscal year 2007. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DRI.
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Top Darden Restaurants, Inc. Articles

Displaying items 56-66
  • Darden offers more concessions to activist investors

    Darden offers more concessions to activist investors
    Embattled Darden Restaurants offered Tuesday to replace eight of its 12 board directors as the company also warned about another weak quarter for Olive Garden. Darden Restaurants Inc. chairman Charles Ledsinger and seven other members have offered to...
  • Darden's plan doesn't appease activist Starboard Value

     Darden's plan doesn't appease activist Starboard Value
    Activist investor Starboard Value won't accept Darden Restaurants' plan to replace eight of its 12 board directors, the hedge fund said Wednesday. Starboard said its own selection of 12 all new directors — 10 with no experience at Darden — is...
  • Activist fight will complicate search for new Darden chief

    An activist investor's efforts to wrest control of embattled Darden Restaurants will make the search for a new CEO even more difficult, industry analysts say. Analysts and consultants following Darden's recent struggles say the company's Sept. 30 annual...
  • Darden delays shareholder meeting amid proxy fight

     Darden delays shareholder meeting amid proxy fight
    Embattled Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. pushed back its annual shareholder meeting 10 days, the company announced Thursday, amid a battle with activist investors. Darden Restaurants will now hold its annual shareholder meeting on Oct. 10,...
  • Darden attacks Starboard: Erroneous, misleading, careless

    Darden attacks Starboard: Erroneous, misleading, careless
    Darden Restaurants attacked hedge fund Starboard Value in a lengthy letter to shareholders on Monday. The letter defends the sale of Red Lobster restaurants and labels Starboard’s criticism of the sale as erroneous, misleading and careless. Darden...
  • Starboard raises Darden stake to 8.8 percent

    Starboard raises Darden stake to 8.8 percent
    Starboard Value announced Tuesday that it now owns 8.8 percent of Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), up from 6.2 in May. Starboard is a hedge fund with a hostile plan to replace Darden’s entire board. Starboard and Darden have been feuding since...
  • Darden completes $2.1 billion sale of its Red Lobster chain

    Darden completes $2.1 billion sale of its Red Lobster chain
    Red Lobster began a new era Monday, as Orlando-based Darden Restaurants completed its $2.1 billion sale to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. The chain is going "back to the basics of being not just the biggest, but the best seafood restaurant,"...
  • Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis to resign

    Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis to resign
    After two straight years of declining profits and mounting pressure from investors, embattled Darden Restaurants Chief Executive Officer Clarence Otis on Monday announced plans to resign by the end of this year. Otis is stepping aside at a tumultuous...
  • Olive Garden update: How designers tackled the job

    Olive Garden update: How designers tackled the job
    The challenge: Bring new life to a 30-year-old Olive Garden restaurant chain by redesigning 800 restaurants. That’s what Philadelphia designer Karen Daroff tackled when she landed Darden Restaurants’¬†overhaul of its largest brand, with the...
  • Olive Garden defends unlimited breadsticks policy as 'Italian generosity'

    Olive Garden defends unlimited breadsticks policy as 'Italian generosity'
    Olive Garden thinks you can never have enough warm breadsticks. The restaurant chain's parent company, Darden Restaurants, prepared a presentation in which it defends its unlimited breadsticks policy and other practices criticized in a report by...
  • Darden reports earnings as investor pushes for changes

    Darden reports earnings as investor pushes for changes
    Darden Restaurants reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates Friday as an activist investment firm trying to overthrow Darden's board unveiled a plan for turning the restaurant company around. Orlando-based Darden reported a loss for its first...